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Za’tar-Spiced Bean Patties

zatar bean patties

If you’re looking for something different and delicious to make for dinner, try these Za’tar-Spiced Bean Patties with a creamy curry sauce.  If you’re not familiar with za’tar, it’s an herb blend usually made up of sumac, thyme, oregano, and hyssop.  Look for it online or in gourmet shops or specialty markets. The name also can refer to a wild oregano grown in the Middle East. If you cannot find za’tar, substitute a blend of dried thyme, mint, and oregano and you’re good to go.

The creamy richness of the sauce is an ideal complement to the spicy bean patties. You can vary the size of the patties according to your preference, from bite-size on up. You also can shape them into balls or logs, if you prefer, and serve them over basmati rice.

This is Recipe #11 in my 30 Days of Vegan Cooking featuring recipes from the soon-to-be-published Revised Edition of Vegan Planet.

Let me know if you’re enjoying this feature — I’d love to hear from you.  By the way, if you tried to contact me via my website in the last couple months, I may not have received it due to a technical glitch, so please try again!

Za’tar-Spiced Bean Patties with Curry Sauce

from Vegan Planet by Robin Robertson

Serves 4


 1 large Yukon Gold potato, peeled and diced

 1 medium-size carrot, chopped

 1 cup cooked or canned brown lentils, well drained

 1 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained

 1 garlic clove, crushed

 2 tablespoons dried za’tar (see headnote)


 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

 1 small onion, chopped

 1 tablespoon curry powder

 1/2 teaspoon natural sugar

 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

 1/2 cup diced fresh or canned tomatoes, well drained

 3/4 cup plain unsweetened nondairy milk



1. Steam the potato and carrot over boiling water until tender, about 10 minutes. Set aside to cool. Blot dry.

2. Blot the lentils and chickpeas dry and place in a food processor. Add the potato and carrot, garlic, za’tar, and salt to taste. Pulse to combine, being careful not to overprocess, so that some of the texture remains. Shape into 4 large or 8 small patties. If the mixture is too soft, add a small amount of oats, bread crumbs, or ground nuts.

3. Preheat the oven to 275°F. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Working in batches, add the patties and cook, turning once, until they are browned on both sides, about 3 minutes per side. Place the browned patties on a baking sheet and keep warm in the oven.

4. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in a medium size saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, cover, and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the curry powder, sugar, and cayenne, then add the tomatoes. Simmer until the tomatoes break up and become saucy, about 5 minutes.

5. Place the sauce mixture in a blender and process until smooth. Add as much of the nondairy milk as needed to achieve the desired consistency. Return the sauce to the saucepan and heat over low heat, then taste and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Serve the patties topped with the sauce.

{ 11 comments… add one }

  • Dianne @ Veggiegirl November 11, 2013, 1:42 pm

    Yum! I just bought Za’tar spice – I know what the first thing I’m going to make with it is now!

    • Robin November 11, 2013, 6:56 pm

      What a happy coincidence! I hope you like it, Dianne.

  • Carol November 11, 2013, 8:00 pm

    I am loving all the recipe posts! I am saving nearly everyone of them to make later.

    Thanks and I love your blog!

    • Robin November 11, 2013, 11:04 pm

      That’s fantastic, Carol. I’m so happy that you’re loving the recipes!

  • Courtney November 12, 2013, 4:56 pm

    Thank you so much for all of these recipes–I am loving the 30 in 30 posts!


    • Robin November 12, 2013, 5:41 pm

      You’ve very welcome, Courtney. I’m glad you’re enjoying the recipes!

  • heather November 12, 2013, 10:37 pm

    yes, love the series! and these look de-licious:) I love patties of all varieties although I have bad luck making them at home. Never seem to get the oil/temp right and they always fall apart… Tips on that front would be great, I love that these are just pan rather than deep fried.

    • Robin November 13, 2013, 8:30 am

      I’m glad you’re loving the series Heather. To make sure patties don’t fall apart when cooking, you may need to adjust the texture. They should hold together well when shaping. If not, you may need to add more binder — ground flaxseeds, outs, breadcrumbs, etc. It can also help to get a “tight” patty by processing the mixture in a food processor so the ingredients are very well minced. Another trick is to shape your patties tightly and then refrigerate them for about 30 minutes before pan-frying in a hot pan. It helps if your pan is a non-stick pan with a thin layer of hot oil. Cook until the underside gets a nice crust on it and then flip with a thin metal spatula. Hope this helps.

  • Yosef - This American Bite December 26, 2013, 3:46 pm

    Congrats! This recipe has been nominated to win my Inspired Recipe of the Year Award and the prize is quite a treat! The shortlist will be announced on 12/30/2013.

  • Kayla January 23, 2016, 10:14 pm

    Hi! I have had your book Vegan Planet for a few years, but I have just taken it out a again intent on making more vegan meals for my family. I see you had made mention of a revised version of the cookbook, so I will look for that and also look at this website thoroughly! I have a question about this recipe for the sagar spiced patties. I made it once and the texture was wrong (but love the flavor and sauce). I am going to remake. I think I may have steamed the potatoes and carrot too long but not positive. In the book, it says to steam -0 minutes and here it states that they should be “tender”. Does that mean you can insert a fork, but it is not mashable?

    • Robin January 24, 2016, 10:40 am

      Hi Kayla,
      The key to success is getting the correct ratio of wet-dry ingredients to shape into firm patties. The veggies should be cooked and just firm, but not soft. All veggies and beans should be as dry as possible. (Instead of steaming veggies, next time you might want to roast them!) I add oats to help firm them up. That usually does the trick. You can also then dredge them in bread crumbs or flour before sauteeing. You can also freeze the patties for about 30 minutes (after adding oats and dredging in flour or bread crumbs) before sauteeing. Hope this helps!

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